Feb 01

Getting Down with Eric Rose: Chatting about The Kite Runner

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

Theatre Calgary has been given the opportunity to present the Canadian premiere of a stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and director Eric Rose has been dealing with the question: How will I tell a story that takes place in a country which we get inundated with media images?

Therefore, Rose went on a journey to get inside the story. The Kite Runner is “a story that spans continents and cultures,” Rose explains, “when your imagination is that big and the story is that epic, it takes a push to make those bridges in your life.” Rose viewed it as an “invitation to know the world differently,” and he and some colleagues went to Turkey last July, to “get into the world and make the experience alive.” He wanted to see the landscape and a sense of the historical vibes of the region. “You can’t really replace those sensory experiences,” Rose says, “it’s just that sense, it’s forty-five degrees out, the sun is beating down, dust is being kicked up into the air and that’s [all] part of the invitation.”

Rose has tried to make the play a part of his life. Since the story takes place in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the California area, it has been a challenge to stage. “It’s been a lot of planning and a lot of discussion,” Rose says. Not only does the play span continents, but it moves locations about every three minutes. Rose has managed to condense a 120 page script into a production that runs 135 minutes without intermission, and it’s no small feat. But staging The Kite Runner wasn’t Rose’s only challenge.

“Finding the right cast for this [has been] a challenging experience, though a rewarding one,” Rose says. He travelled across the country to find the right people for the production, even having skype calls into Israel. It took about two months for all the roles to be filled, as there are characters who grow up throughout the play, so the actors have to have some resemblance. “There is a bulk of experience in the room,” Rose states, “it’s thrilling as a director, [but it’s also] daunting in some ways. I can’t direct culture. That’s impossible. So I had to cast people who could bring that authenticity and experience.”

“I think my deep hope is that people take the invitation to know this part of the world,” Rose says when asked about what he’s hoping the audience will gain from the show. “[The region is] saturated with media, whether it’s war-torn, drug trade, [or] terrorism. The opportunity here is to [not only] keep an overall history of Afghanistan, but to really get to know the people.

Kite Runner opens tonight. More information and tickets are available online.

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